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Residential Learning Communities (RLC)

Students who participate in a Residential Learning Community get the unique opportunity to live and take classes with a small group of students who share similar interests.

The benefits of living in a Residential Learning Community include:

  • Special interaction with faculty members
  • Convenient, natural study group
  • Community service possibilities
  • A smooth start that weaves connections all across JMU

How to Apply

Incoming first-year students can apply online starting April 1, applications are due by May 15.

  • Be sure to read about all each Learning Community before filling out an application.
  • Students are selected for Residential Learning Communities through a multi-step process. Completing an application does not guarantee a spot in a learning community.
  • A note for applicants: the eRezLife system makes the application look similar to a job application

General questions regarding RLCs can be sent to Kathleen Campbell or 540-568-4767

RLC Descriptions


For students interested in majors in the College of Visual and Performing Arts

Together students will participate in a one credit seminar class that will:

  • Emphasis on the artist as a citizen leader
  • Active in the production and performance of works of art and critical reflection on those works employing the “critical response” system from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
  • Engage in the improvement of the artistic and academic culture within the college and at JMU
  • Identify the creative and interdisciplinary connection between the arts and campus

The arts experience will be comprised of music, theatre and exhibition experiences shared in the newly renovated Wayland Hall, in venues throughout campus, and field trips to off campus venues. This will include student and faculty produced as well as field trip experiences and guest artists produced performances and exhibitions. This will be a wonderful experiences for all selected to participate.

For more information contact Terry Dean - 540-568-6342. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life - 540-568-4767.

The Honors Living and Learning Center

For students admitted to the JMU Honors Program

The JMU Honors Program vision is a vibrant and diverse community of students and faculty excited to be engaged in intellectual discovery. The Honors Living and Learning Center strongly complements the Program’s mission to develop and enrich this community. The Honors Living and Learning Center provides experiences and facilities for high achieving, highly motivated, and intellectually curious students to live and work together with one another, with other Honors students, and with faculty members to explore their mutual interests in learning and discovery, promoting the intellectual culture that is at the core of the Honors Program’s vision and mission. Intellectual engagement is the primary driving forces in programming for the Honors Living and Learning Center. In addition, the Honors Living and Learning Center requires its members to participate in leadership and service activities.

Freshmen Honors Scholars will live together with a number of sophomore Honors Scholars in the Honors Learning and Living Center, which is typically housed in one of the two wings of Shenandoah Hall. Entering freshmen honors students are expected, but not required, to live in the honors residence hall. Honors students who come to JMU planning to live with a non-honors student may be able to live in the honors residence if space permits. For more honors program info see

For more information contact the Honors Program Office at 540-568-6953 or

Huber- Not Accepting Applicants for 2015-2016

For pre-professional health students

The Huber Residential Learning Community (HRLC) is a year-long opportunity for 20 first year, pre-professional health students. Incoming students from diverse majors (including undeclared) with interests in any of the pre-professional health programs [pre-audiology, -dentistry, -forensics, -medicine, -occupational therapy, -optometry, -pharmacy, -physical therapy, -physician assistant, -speech language pathology, and -veterinary medicine] are encouraged to apply. Successful applicants will reside in or near Chesapeake Hall.

The goal of the HRLC is to create a living-learning environment in which students learn to integrate their undergraduate coursework with preparation for a professional health career while gaining early experience interacting with a variety of faculty, health professionals, and agencies in the local community. We believe that pre-professional students who become adept at skills in reflection, professionalism, multiculturalism, teamwork, and community awareness will be those who effect change in their communities and provide leadership in the rapidly evolving and expanding fields of health and human services.

Coursework is designed exclusively for HRLC members. Members enroll in IPE 201 (1 credit, fall semester) and IPE 202 (2 credits, spring semester). Both courses promote a strong sense of community and responsibility that can transform individuals, local and global communities, as well as undergraduate pre-professional health education. Activities require members to interact successfully in diverse learning settings, participate in a poverty simulation and immigrant learning tour, and complete a 20-hour service learning experience. It is our hope that Huber RLC members experience the power of personal and professional relationships in shaping innovation and leading community awareness and change.

The Huber RLC honors the late Dr. Vida Huber who established JMU’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services (IIHHS). IIHHS facilitates campus-community connections that allow us to translate urgent needs and compelling ideas into practice. In a typical year, IIHHS involves over 3000 students in clinical and community programs (exceeding 15,000 hours of service) and provides over $4 million in grant-funded services to the citizens of Virginia. Ongoing services to children, families, older adults, migrant populations, and those vulnerable to critical gaps in health care and community support reach hundreds of families and thousands of individuals in the city of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, and across the Commonwealth.

HRLC alumni have completed more than 1650 hours of “learning while serving” at local health and human service agencies including: Harrisonburg Community Health Center, Gus Bus: Reading Road Show, Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery, Counseling and Psychological Services, Youth Suicide Prevention, Child Development Clinic, Valley AIDS Network, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Harrisonburg Rescue Squad, and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Free Clinic. Huber RLC members have a direct and positive impact on people’s lives!

The Huber Residential Learning Community will not be accepting applicants for the 2015-2016 academic year, but if you would like more information contact Dr. Sharon Babcock at or (540)568-6652. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life at or (540)568-4767.

"Higher education is about providing opportunities for students to become more whole human beings. Thus, in my opinion, the provision of opportunities to stretch their vision, interact with persons different than themselves, and be involved in providing service to others, is an all-important ingredient of a high-quality educational experience."- Dr. Vida S. Huber

Madison Engineering (MadE)

For first year engineering students

Designed for first year Madison Engineering students – MadE RLC is a unique opportunity to live, learn, and lead with a small group of students who share your spirit of inquiry, contribution, and excellence.

The year-long experience will allow you to live, study, and socially interact with your engineering peers and mentors. This access gives you special connections within the department, college, university and community at large.

Through RLC-only activities, you will have the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to become a leader within the Learning Community and beyond, quickly launching your engineering career on a pathway to success.

You will have the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge alongside faculty and staff outside of the traditional educational environments and participate in extra professional activities while positively affecting the world. 

For more information contact Dr. Gipson at or 540-568-5054­. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life at or 540-568-4767.

Madison International

For students from the United States and around the world who want to live and learn together as global citizens.

Each year, freshman students from the United States and around the world come together to live and learn in a dynamic, international residence hall (Hoffman Hall) in the heart of JMU’s campus. 

 What is the Mission of Madison International?

The mission of Madison International is to provide a rich array of living and learning opportunities for student-residents at James Madison University so they may:

  1. think and act locally and globally;
  2. learn from and contribute to the multiple communities in which they are embedded; and,
  3. cultivate the values and competencies of informed and enlightened global citizens who are prepared to lead productive and meaningful lives. 

What Do We Do in Madison International?

The Madison International learning community provides an extraordinary opportunity for a diverse cohort of students to learn from and about each other through a series of dynamic experiential and classroom-based activities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • academic course work that is uniquely tailored to the participants in Madison International;
  • experiential learning trips; 
  • interaction with the international student population at JMU. 

Academic Requirements:  

By design, the residents of Hoffman Hall complete coursework together, which are developed and taught keeping their unique experiences in mind; such courses also satisfy other curricular or programmatic requirements at JMU.  

MI participants are required to participate together in: 

UNST150: Global Learning and Living: Madison International (1 hour of credit)

Global Learning and Living: Madison International provides an opportunity for a diverse cohort of international and American students to learn from and about each other through stimulating discussions, shared class projects, engaging activities in the larger community, intercultural residence hall programs, and the opportunity to participate in service learning (click here for a sample syllabus).


UNST151: Making Sense of Beliefs and Values: A Guided Tour for Global Citizens (3 hours of credit)

Making Sense of Beliefs and Values: A Guided Tour for Global Citizens explores the origin and nature of beliefs and values and how they are linked to actions, policies and practices around the world.  These processes are examined through a range of big picture issues (e.g., religious, political, environmental, gender-based, cultural) that are relevant to all global citizens. Through dynamic speakers, discussions, readings, activities and lectures, this course helps students develop a deeper understanding of self, others and the larger world (click here for a sample syllabus). 


For more information contact Madison International at 540-568-2993 and visit Madison International's web page. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life via email or at 540-568-4767.


For Psychology majors or students with a strong interest in psychology

The Psychology Learning Community (PLC) is designed for up to 20 first-year students who have a strong interest in pursuing a major in Psychology and a future career in a Psychology-related field. As a member of the PLC, you will take part in a unique introduction to the field of Psychology and jump start to the major through a series of courses and experiences designed specifically for you.

During the fall semester, PLC members will be co-enrolled in two courses. First, you will have the opportunity to participate in Psyc200 (Orientation to Psychology and the Major). This is a special course that will introduce you to the diverse range of areas studied in Psychology, to different careers connected to these areas, and to the unique opportunities of being a Psychology Major at JMU. In addition, it will facilitate having you meet and make initial connections to numerous faculty and students in our department. Second, you will be enrolled in Psyc212 (Psychological Research Methods and Design, Part I) to begin important pre-requisite coursework for our major and your methodology training. Then in the spring semester, you will be enrolled in Psyc213 (Psychological Research Methods and Design, Part II) to complete your method training and pre- requisite coursework.

Recent work by the American Psychological Association (APA) on best practices for Undergraduate Psychology Programs has outlined 10 learning goals. The PLC coursework and additional experiences that will be offered will give each member of our community the opportunity to begin mastering all 10 goals in your first year. Specifically, these learning goals are:

  • Goal 1. Theory and Content of Psychology - Demonstrating familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.
  • Goal 2. Research Methods in Psychology - Understanding and applying basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Goal 3. Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology - Respecting and using critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
  • Goal 4. Application of Psychology - Understanding and applying psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.
  • Goal 5. Values in Psychology - Being able to weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Goal 6. Information and Technological Literacy - Demonstrating information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes.
  • Goal 7. Communication Skills - Being able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
  • Goal 8. Sociocultural and International Awareness - Recognizing, understanding, and respecting the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.
  • Goal 9. Personal Development - Developing insight into one's own and others' behavior and mental processes and applying effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
  • Goal 10. Career Planning and Development - Emerging from the major with realistic ideas about how to implement one's psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings.

When selecting students for our community, we are interested in freshmen who have declared Psychology as a major and who have demonstrated proficiency in mathematics and writing to enter the Psyc212 and 213 sequence as a Freshmen. In addition, other important characteristics in selecting members for the community will be interest in working in a community that promotes diversity, collaboration, interest in exploring psychology as a science of behavior, and willingness to engage in service-learning and other experiential learning opportunities.

For more information contact Dr. Kenn Barron either by email at or by phone at (540) 568-4065.


For students interested in teaching Pre-K through 12

If you are studying Education and plan to follow a career path towards teaching pre-K through 12, then the Roop Learning Community (RLC) is for you!  Students in the RLC will take their General Education Cluster 3 science core classes together in addition to living in the same residence hall (Gifford Hall). The members of the RLC will also have the option of participating in community service projects in local schools. This is an integrated learning experience that will help you build a sense of community and develop friendships that will last a lifetime!

In addition to community service projects in local schools, members of the Roop Learning Community will also have opportunities to take field trips to places like the Shenandoah National Park, the Science Museum of Virginia, and experimental schools. Imagine living and taking classes with a small group of students who share your interests in teaching!

All members of this learning community will be enrolled in the General Education Cluster 3, track II science classes. You will take GSCI 163, GSCI 164, and ISAT 280. In Spring, you will take GSCI 165 & ISAT 280. As sophomores, you will take GSCI 161 & 162. Each of these classes will be taught in an interactive, interdisciplinary setting and members of the Roop Learning Community will all be enrolled in the same sections of these classes. You will be enrolled in these classes together over the course of the three semesters.

You Do Not have to be in IDLS major! If you are going into a career field of education, you are invited to apply!

The RLC is open to all education students; Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, IDLS, Secondary, Special Education, Art, Music, and Physical and Health Education.

For more information contact Dr. Cindy Klevickis at or 540-568-2726. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life at or 540-568-4767 or

The Roop Learning Community is named after Inez Graybeal Roop who graduated from Madison  College  in 1935. Inez Roop was a member of the James  Madison  University  Board of Visitors from 1974-1978 and 1980-1984. Roop Hall was dedicated in her honor in 1995. Today, she continues to be one of JMU's greatest supporters.

SEEDs of Science

The SEEDs of Science Learning Community is open to incoming freshmen with an interest in pursuing a career in secondary science teacher education. Students in the SSLC will have a major in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Geology, or Physics and a minor in secondary education (SEED).  As a member of the SSLC, you will:

  • Begin your freshmen year with an instant network of peers that share your interests and live together in or near Chesapeake Hall
  • Work closely with both Science and Education professors
  • Interact with and develop a network of science education professionals across VA and beyond
  • Learn about and experience opportunities in both formal classroom science education and informal science education such as careers with science museums, National Parks and other government education programs, and science education media
  • Take two classes together freshmen year that are team-taught by faculty in the 4 science disciplines and in the College of Education. These classes will integrate the concepts from your science courses with the skills for being an effective and engaging science teacher.
  • With support from science and education faculty members, design and deliver hand-on/minds-on science experiences for K-12 students by participating in activities such as guest teaching in local middle and high schools, putting together a “science night” for local schools, participating in established science enrichment programs in the community, and hosting science field trip at JMU.
  • Attend conferences such as the VA Association for Science Teachers and Association for Science Teacher Education where you will have the opportunity to give presentations about the SSLC and become part of the state and national professional science education communities.

For more information contact Dr. Kerry Cresawn, You may also contact The Office of Residence Life at or 540-568-4767.


For Biology First-Years with an Interest in Research

The Trelawny Learning Community (TLC) is designed for 8-10 first-year Biology students - a small group for an informal feeling and more individual attention to each member. Check out the Biology Department’s website at

Each TLC member is matched with a faculty member or graduate student working on research in an area of interest to the student.

This year, we have a diverse and motivated group of first-years working with faculty in these areas:

Aquatic Ecology ~ Physiology of Stress in the Neonatal Brain ~ Neurobiology ~ Digging Behavior in Mammals ~ Mechanisms of Cell Death in Development and Disease ~ Immunology ~ Amphibian-Bacteria Mutualisms ~ Role of Hormones in Amphibian Development and Evolution ~ Lower-Limb Injuries in Humans

In 2014, TLC students live in or near Chesapeake Hall.

Courses for TLC students include a 1-credit seminar in fall (Bio 201), which provides ground-training in research skills, while students meet their faculty research advisors and start getting involved in their respective research environments. The seminar is an opportunity most of our majors don't have - because although JMU students can get involved in research, they don't necessarily get a lot of information on how to carry out research as a scientist would.

Students have input from faculty, grad students, and various invited speakers who offer their insights to the group on how to write out a hypothesis for their specific topic, plan out their project for their first semester, and then delve into literature and data collection. For example, you might begin analyzing a paper that was suggested for you to read by your faculty advisor – or learn how to do the statistics that your lab does!

Students constantly have the chance to report their progress and get feedback on how to interpret a data set or how to proceed from there. The group setting allows a first-year researcher to bounce ideas off their peers and the support group of mentors, and talk about problems that might arise - again, something many of our UG students say they would love to have done!

Second semester entails a 2-credit seminar where students are expanding and evolving their original projects, to the point where they're analyzing data and learning to write up an abstract for a presentation. We have a Biology Research Symposium here every spring, and TLC students will be involved not only in preparing presentations (poster or oral, team or individual) for this symposium, but in helping to critique abstract submissions and schedule the program.

The main goal of the TLC experience is to build a solid group of UG researchers with a real presence and identity in our department. I see it as being a sort of mini-graduate student experience. In fact, we’re developing a course for our grad students where they will help mentor the TLC group and provide their own unique expertise!

Students are enrolled together in one lab section of our intro Biology course, BIO 114, so they can work on class assignments and study together, strengthening their bond as a community.

The social aspect of the TLC, like in any good learning community, provides regular group meetings to simply touch base on first-semester campus life and how things are going in general - and students will have the opportunity to take part in social events and field trips. TLC students help decide what kinds of events and trips they’ll do as a group. This Fall, the group plans to carve Halloween pumpkins with local kids and help out at the local animal shelter.

Research: Students work a minimum of 2-3 hours per week with a faculty mentor in a research lab or in the field.

Students participate in 3 out of 5 group-planned community service activities per semester.

Students attend the weekly TLC seminar and participate in group assignments, all of which are linked to the development of the research they’re doing.

For more information contact Katrina Gobetz at 540-568-3643 or You may also contact The Office of Residence Life at or 540-568-4767.

The Trelawny Learning Community is named after Dr. Gilbert Trelawny. Dr. Trelawny was head of the Department of Biology at James Madison University for 22 years. Through his work, Dr. Trelawny made a lasting impact on the University. He is admired for his work in building the department and supporting the development of undergraduate research programs

Residential Learning Community FAQs

If I am in a RLC will I be able to meet other people?

Yes, you will meet lots of other people. The RLC will be just one group of friends you are sure to make here at JMU.

How large are the Learning Communities?

RLCs range in size from 18-30 depending upon the year and specific group.

What day is move in from the RLCs?

Move in for the RLCs is Tuesday. Wednesday is a special lunch for all RLC members. It is the first opportunity you will have to meet with your faculty members.

How much time will be involved with the RLCs outside of the classroom?

This really depends on the RLC but they tend to have lots of fun activities outside the classroom like trips to Kings Dominion, Baltimore aquarium, local service projects, etc.

Is there an advantage to applying for a RLC?

Yes, you get to know faculty members right from the beginning of your college career. Ask a senior, knowing your faculty members can provide different opportunities for you here at JMU.

Are there RLCs for second year students?

Yes, Roop, Honors and Madison International all offer an optional second year component.

How do I get selected to participate in a RLC?

You will complete a special interest housing application and the faculty working with each of the RLCs will determine who is accepted.

When do I have to decide if I want to participate?

Applications are due at the same time as your housing contract; however, we will continue to accept applications until the RLCs are full. To have the best chance to get into your first choice of RLC be sure to apply by the deadline. All late applications are decided upon a rolling admission based on space available.

How do I find out if I got accepted into a RLC?

You will get an email to your JMU email account providing your status.

If I get chosen to participate in a RLC, will my roommate have to be in the same one?

No, in fact your roommate does not have to be in any of the RLCs.

Can my roommate and I be in the same RLC?

Yes. Please, remember roommates are only assigned together if they mutually request one another.

Can my roommate and I be in different RLCs?

Yes, as long as both RLCs are housed in the same building.

What halls are the RLCs in?

The RLCs are all in handicap accessible, air conditioned buildings. Currently, the RLCs are in Chesapeake, Gifford, Hoffman, and Wayland.

Do I have to take all the courses associate with the RLC or can I pick and choose?

Once accepted you will need to take all the courses associated with the RLC. If you drop one you will be dropped from the community and your housing assignment may be changed before your arrival.

How do I know what classes to take?

Once selected into a RLC you will be pre-registered for the associated courses. If at Springboard you adjust your schedule make sure to not drop one of the RLC courses. Your advisor will have information in your folder but be sure to remind them you have been selected into a RLC.

Who are the RLC Faculty Coordinators?

Residential Learning Community (RLC)

Faculty Coordinator


Campus Phone

Huber (Pre-professional Health)

Dr. Babcock


Honors Living and Learning Center

Dr. Falk


Madison Engineering (MadE)

Dr. Gipson 


Madison International

Dr. Shealy


Psychology Learning Community

Dr. Barron


Roop (Education)

Dr. Klevickis


SEEDs of Science


Geology and Earth Science:


Dr. Cresawn

Dr. Reisner

Dr. St. Joh

Dr. Utter





Trelawney (Biology Research focus)

Dr. Gobetz


Visual & Performing Arts

Dr. Dean